Rad­i­cal cour­ses for rad­i­cal fans

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE -

– English Premier League gi­ants Chelsea are send­ing fans banned for an­ti­Semitism on di­ver­sity train­ing cour­ses that could end up with vis­its to Nazi con­cen­tra­tion camps, the club said this week.

The ini­tia­tive for fans guilty of non-crim­i­nal racist acts is part of club owner Ro­man Abramovich’s on­go­ing ini­tia­tive to stamp out anti-Semitism, ac­cord­ing to Chelsea chair­per­son Bruce Buck.

The club has al­ready or­gan­ised two vis­its to con­cen­tra­tion camps as part of its ef­forts to raise aware­ness of the is­sue, and fans on the vol­un­tary di­ver­sity course could be in­vited on fu­ture trips.

“If you just ban the peo­ple, you will never change their be­hav­iour,” Buck told The Sun news­pa­per. “This pol­icy gives them the chance to re­alise what they have done, to make them want to be­have bet­ter.”

The club has pre­vi­ously crit­i­cised pock­ets of its own fans over anti-Semitic chants di­rected at bit­ter Lon­don ri­vals Tot­ten­ham, a club with a large Jewish fan­base.

Abramovich, who is him­self Jewish, de­manded a plan to deal with the is­sue, re­sult­ing in club del­e­ga­tions twice vis­it­ing the Auschwitz camp in Poland.

“Fol­low­ing a pro­posal raised at our fans’ fo­rum, the club is launch­ing an ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme for sup­port­ers banned for anti-Semitic be­hav­iour,” the club said in a state­ment.

Holo­caust sur­vivors Harry Spiro and Mala Tribich, both 88 years old, have shared their sto­ries at events hosted by the club as part of the ini­tia­tive, which is backed by Jewish lead­ers.

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